Boss: “Your assignment within the next hour is to write five creative headlines to present to the Chief Marketing Office. Now go.”
Me: “Okay, bye.”
This was a real conversation. Luckily, I had the work experience to accept this challenge with my best poker face, and the tricks up my sleeve to turn on my creativity like a light.
When it comes to brainstorming, I use different strategies depending on the type of assignment. If you’re stuck in a creative rut and need some inspiration fast, try these brainstorming strategies to get the creative juices flowing.
Host a faucet and funnel session. Whether it’s just you or a team of people, a faucet and funnel session should be limited to 30 minutes to an hour. First, the faucet. Dump out ALL your ideas on paper. Even the crazy, non-realistic ideas. Get ‘em all out. Then, take your funnel mindset and start crossing off the ideas that aren’t on brand or are too expensive. Once you have a handful of viable ideas, flesh them out in further detail. This session can also be split into two different sessions if you need a fresh mind for your funnel.
Find a very boring space. Sounds counterintuitive, right? Trust me on this. Find a small room with boring white walls. Get out your most uninspiring notebook, or a simple piece of printer paper, and a pencil. The goal here is to add contrast to a space that is dead boring. Think colorfully!
Make an opposite chart. When you are brainstorming about a certain theme, an opposite chart can help you make a list of related words that could then be used in headlines or brand copy. Take a piece of paper or a white board and draw a line down the middle. On the left, list out all the words you can think of related to your theme or topic. On the right, list the opposite of each corresponding word. Use the opposite words to infuse intriguing conflict into your copy.
Do something mindless. If you have a few hours to think over an idea, take a break and do an activity that doesn’t require much mental stamina. This strategy works best when you have a certain topic or assignment already “on your mind.” When you do something that you think turns your mind off, your mind is covertly working hard in the background connecting the dots for you. This strategy usually results in an “Aha!” moment. I can’t tell you how many ideas, headlines, words, and thought starters I’ve thought of in the aisles of Home Goods.
Bring in additional brainpower. Fresh perspectives are a beautiful thing. If you’re working alone or with your usual team members, bring in someone new! This person should NOT have the same style or talents as you. This is a great exercise to gain some perspective you haven’t thought of before. Even if you don’t agree with their perspective, consider it an insight into what your future audience might think.
Happy brainstorming! Got your idea, but can’t figure out how to execute it on your website? Check out these 5 tips for writing website copy. For more copywriting and creative tips, follow me on Instagram!